There are few foods that I could eat everyday for the rest of my life, and I have discovered that rice and beans is not one of them.
As the day to go embora is quickly approaching, I can almost taste the cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, and froyo that are always present in my parents’ fridge. I don’t know why I listed all dairy products. Perhaps because I still haven’t adjusted to the milk here. It has this really strong distinct flavor that tends to go away a little if I mix it with enough water or with a banana and chocolate powder when blending up a vitamina. I think my resistance to the taste might be related to the moment during the summer when I discovered where my host mom stores the excess boxes of milk—in the closet.
Not to mention the ants. I swear the FBI should recruit these tiny creatures which can seek out the source of any and every piece of organic and possibly edible matter. If I drop just one crumb on the floor or spill one drop of juice, in just seconds the colorful matter is completely eclipsed by a swarm of tiny ants, a black blob whose tail–the trail of still more ants anxiously arriving–extends across the tiles, dipping in the grouted valleys and winding along the wall, finally disappearing in a crack beneath the cupboard. One of my morning rituals involves massacring a mountain of these insistent insects, my indignation rising when I find their little brown antennas wiggling through the bristles on my toothbrush.
The other day, I fastened a bag of caramels with a clip, wrapped it in a plastic bag, and stuck it in my carry-on bag, zipped shut, and put the entire suitcase inside my armoire on the top shelf and closed the doors. But lo and behold, these little sniffing stinkers still somehow snuck inside. When I opened the doors and undid all the locks and bolts, I found hundreds of little ants swarming inside my clipped-shut bag of caramels, many of which had already slipped within the individually wrapped candies themselves, their faces smushed between the plastic and pure sweet pleasure. That was supposed to be mine.
Recently when working on a project with my friend Rochelle, she pointed to a blotch on her laptop screen, “Do you know what that is?” “No, what?” As I leaned in for a closer look, the broken brown body of an ant came into view, its squashed self fossilized forever—stuck behind her computer screen.
Apparently, one day while working on her computer, Rochelle saw this ant crawling across her screen. When she tried to flick it away, it stayed, instead of skedaddling, smushed behind her screen. It was then that she realized, that the ant had in fact snuck inside her laptop, and was wandering its way around on the other side.
“Que bom,” I said, “Now you’ll always have a little smudge of Salvador on your screen.”